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Atrios:

Once upon a time you could smoke everywhere. Hell, high schools had smoking lounges. Everybody smoked. I actually remain a bit puzzled about why people start smoking these days. I’m not being judgmental, I’m just genuinely curious. When being a smoker involves always having to find a moment to duck out of wherever you are to light up outside, it just doesn’t seem that fun anymore.

If I were less lazy I’d peruse the internet for supporting evidence, but I’m pretty sure the answer is: people start smoking as teenagers, and teenagers have always had to duck out of wherever they are to light up. So nothing much has changed on that front. And by the time they’re old enough that smoking has become a pain in the ass, it’s too late. They’re already addicted.

Thus the vast amount of cigarette marketing aimed at young people, combined with similarly vast denials from the cigarette industry that they’re doing any such thing.

UPDATE: I started to feel guilty about being so lazy and decided I should go ahead and dig up some Actual Facts™. That turned out to be surprisingly hard (i.e., it took more than the 60 seconds I figured it would). However, a pamphlet from the CDC here says, “Nearly 9 out of 10 smokers start smoking by age 18, and 99% start by age 26.” I’m not sure what their source is, but I guess the CDC wouldn’t lie to us, would it?

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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